I really appreciate the time and effort people put into UG?s Lesson Section? very, very helpful. What are some recommended (or favourite) guitar theory books on your bookshelf? If this has been previously discussed please link. Thanks in advance.
Harmony -Walter Piston. For years this was the definitive text on harmonies. A little wordy and sometimes very deep, but a great book that in my opinion every serious musician should read at least once in thrir life.

Fundamentals of Musical Composition -Arnold Schoenberg. One of my all time favorite books. Very logiacally laid out. Learn a bit about harmony and rhythm first though. this book is a text every composer should read.

A History of Musical Style -Richard Crocker. Great overview of how the forms of Western music have evolved over the last 400 years.

Structure and Style: The Study and Analysis of Musical Forms Leon Stein. Another wonderful composers tool. This book is sheds a lot of light on the underlying principles of musical design.

Psychology of Music -Carl Seashore. A glimpse into how the human mind percieves and processes music.

The Rhythmic Structure of Music -Cooper and Meyer. A thorough study on the rhythmic structure of music, both on the motivic (micro) level and the macro level (harmonic rhythm, etc...)

Harmony and Melody vol I& II -Ellie Siegmeister. This should be the first book on musical composition any would be composer reads. Written in total noob speak, but still good coverage of the fundamentals.

The Acoustical Foundations of Music -John Backus. Good book on the physics behind music.

OK, admittedly many of these books are not very beginner friendly, but they form the basis of how I leanred the theory stuff. I have always been a bit "bookish" and by the time I got to college, I had all of these books pretty much memorized. I have these and a couple hundred more on the shelves in my office now, and on occasion I find some new or forgotten perspective upon browsing them.

You will also notice an absence of guitar books on my suggested reading list. Quite frankly, this is because any of my students would have already learned whatever can be learned from guitar books by the time they come to me. I am sure there are a lot of great guitar method books on the market, I am just not familiar with any of them to refer them to you.

I learned analytical and compositional techniques seperate from learning the guitar. This is because I am a composer first, guitarist second. I actually do not recomend this because even today I struggle to combne the composer and guitarist in me. My guitar music is a lot more basic, down to earth and improvisational in nature than the "serious" music I compose.

The Piston book will make you a harmonic guru is you digest it. The Siegmeister books will get you started composing in ways you perhaps were not aware that you could, if that is of interest to you. The rest is great reading, but maybe overkill for a lot of people.

EDIT: Sorry, I missed the word "guitar" in front of theory in your post. None of these books even focus on the guitar. I learned theory as an entity unto itself not bound to any specific instrument because I learned from a composer's point of view. However, if you really enjoy reading and would like some comprehensive info, these books can't steer you wrong. I unfortunately do not own or know of any guitar books......
Last edited by spaivxx at Jun 16, 2006,
Well, if reading notation is theory, then try William Leavitt: A Modern Method for Guitar. You'll be reading like a madman

Also, The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine!
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